Few of my Blog readers will know that I have taken the stream near the Camps Bay Tidal Pool under my wing, cleaning it twice a day. One piece of paper or plastic litter in a stream has made me see it all over Camps Bay, when I walk the Promenade twice a day, and sadly everywhere I go in Cape Town. I was delighted that Adidas and Parley have joined forces, to turn ocean plastic into shoes. Continue reading →
I got terribly lost trying to find Mulberry Farm, Continue reading →
Never in the history of World Cup soccer has a “player” made world TV and newspaper headlines as has Paul the psychic octopus. We nominate him for the Golden Ball Award for being the most on-the-ball player of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, having correctly predicted Germany’s four wins and two losses.
Paul lives in an aquarium in Oberhausen in Germany, but is British-born. He started duty in the UEFA Cup final in 2008, but made an error when he predicted that Germany would win against Spain. He was a little known player then, especially due to his incorrect prediction. But since the start of the 2010 World Cup he has been spot-on with the results of each match, predicting Germany’s wins over Australia, Ghana, England and Argentina, and its losses against Serbia and Spain.
All eyes will be on Paul as he predicts Germany to take 3rd place against Uruguay in Port Elizabeth today. He has also bravely stepped out of his league in predicting the winner of the World Cup Final to be Spain, in its match against Netherlands tomorrow.
Poor Paul is being heavily taxed, in that he is now being asked to predict all sorts of other things, such as whether German coach Joachim Loew will renew his contract.
Paul has become such a talked-about VIP that he has his own Twitter page now (@PPsychicOctopus), and boy can he Tweet non-stop, usually putting some “biped” down when he/she make comments he does not like, and just in general, when he feels like it. He is a cheeky opinionated chap! He attracted 422 followers in just 2 days, and is hoping for 1000 by tomorrow. He picks up almost every mention about himself on Twitter, and then replies to it. He has been featured on CNN, ZDF, BBC and SkyNews, and made the front page of the Cape Times and Germany’s Bild, and no doubt many more international and local newspapers.
While I am having fun, I am awarding some other unofficial 2010 World Cup awards:
Goldie Locks Award: goes to Diego Forlan of Uruguay, who has beautiful blond hair kept in place with a blue aliceband, and has the most beautiful blue eyes, for sure the most beautiful soccer player in the World Cup (on the other hand, Wayne Rooney has already been selected by the media as the ‘ugliest’ player of the soccer tournament)
Golden Trend Award: Cristiano Ronaldo receives this award, for his black nailpolished toes, as seen on German TV station ZDF yesterday
Golden Coach Award: superstitious German coach Joachim Loew wearing his beautiful blue jersey at every match in which Germany played, and refusing to wash it to not break the luck of his team, that is until it lost against Spain this week. He was by far the best looking coach of all teams.
Golden Moneybags Award without a doubt goes to FIFA and its President Sepp Blatter, for taking all its money out of South Africa, untaxed as per its contract with the South African government, especially all the MATCH booking monies. Ticket sales will have largely been received by credit card in Switzerland anyway.
Golden Service Award goes to the 25 000 or so volunteers at 10 stadiums and at the Fan Parks in Host Cities, as well as at airports and FIFA-designated hotels, who worked for a pittance of R 100 per day, irrespective of how long their working hours were. Volunteers were specifically forced to sign away their rights to protection under South Africa’s labour legislation, such is the power of FIFA! Volunteers were not even allowed to receive a copy of their 4-page contract. Volunteers were the machine that made the running of the World Cup smooth and largely incident-free, in offering Spectator Services, Language Support, Transportation, Accreditation, Hospitality, IT and Telecommunications, and many more services to make the World Cup happen. The ridiculously low “stipend” has to be taxed, at least 30 % being deducted, even for the meal allowance when it was first paid into the bank, while FIFA patted itself on the back for its 25 % increase in its media and marketing income for this World Cup, and announcing that millions of dollars will be paid to Football Associations and its executive.
Golden Aches Award goes to the World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC), for forcing its 25 000 volunteers around the country to spend half of their R 120 daily meal allowance at a McDonald’s close by, for the past 40 days. The Green Point branch, which is right at the Stadium, made a fortune from the Cape Town LOC for daily vouchers to the value of R 60 – it could easily be R2 million – out of a blind loyalty to the fast food company’s sponsorship of the World Cup.
Golden Handcuff Award goes to the S A Police Services for safeguarding South Africa and the soccer fans, and for taking over the security services when Stallion Security staff striked in Cape Town and in Durban at the start of the World Cup. They were patient, dedicated and worked in the pouring rain in Cape Town at three of the matches, and in cold winter conditions for the other five matches, as well as on non-match days, checking bags and other belongings, keeping everyone inside the Stadium safe.
Golden Key Award goes to FIFA and the LOC, for forbidding its volunteers to criticise the two bodies whilst they were on duty, as per the volunteer contract. What they did not understand was the power of word-of-mouth, aggrieved volunteers talking to each other and posting comments on the Cape Town Volunteers blog www.ctvolunteers2010.wordpress.com. E-mails were sent to other volunteers, and one even approached the Weekend Argus about the McDonald’s forced-diet, that uniforms were not supplied to all volunteers in the 5 weeks of them doing duty, prejudicing some in not working inside the stadiums and therefore not seeing all the matches, and that transport problems meant that volunteers stood in the rain and cold waiting for transportation to take them home after matches.
Golden “Gees” Award goes to all South Africans, who become ‘Proudly South African’ in the past month, becoming soccer fans (who was it that said that ‘White’ South Africans do not support soccer and do not watch local matches?) in addition to loving rugby; who went to watch the Stormers and the Blue Bulls play at Orlando Stadium in Soweto (I mean, have you ever?!) and loved the “gees” there just a short while prior to the start of the World Cup; for walking the Fan Walk (153 000 in Cape Town last Saturday alone) and calling for the Fan Walk to become a permanent feature, locals requesting Capetonians to walk it once a month; for the loyal support for Bafana Bafana, a team we scorned and mocked prior to the World Cup, but who did us proud; and made us proud Africans, supporting BaGhana BaGhana when this was the last African team left in the tournament.
Golden Liquid Award goes to the beer producers and all the staff at pubs and restaurants around the country who made sure that soccer fans remained liquid, either to celebrate or commiserate their teams’ performance! Vaughn Johnson’s Wine Shop sold 10 000 beer cans in the 4 hours prior to the England versus Algeria match in Cape Town, he says.
Golden Balls-Up Award goes to ACSA Durban for damaging the image of the country when flights bringing German and Spain fans to Durban on Tuesday after the match had finished, due to a congestion of aeroplanes at the new King Shaka airport in the city, reportedly due to private jets clogging up the parking bays and refusing to move their planes, the FIFA one being one of them! Not surprisingly FIFA and the LOC have distanced themselves from any responsibility for this mess-up.
Golden Fans Award goes to all the wonderful soccer fans, both local and international, that became infected with the “gees” of the World Cup, who got to endure the vuvuzelas and even bought their own, for dressing up in wigs, painting their faces, and proudly wearing their country’s flags – I can see a whole new fashion trend in proudly-South African colours. They brought their dollars, pounds and Euros, and bought beers, ate at restaurants (manly pizzas, burgers and steaks), stayed at good value guest houses and did some sightseeing locally. They showed up FIFA’s MATCH by making their own accommodation bookings (at non-MATCH guest houses) and by buying their own match tickets, instead of falling for MATCH packages.
Golden Rip-Off Award goes to MATCH, the hospitality and ticketing agency of FIFA, which conned the accommodation industry for a second World Cup, promising good accommodation returns, forcing establishments to give 80 % of their rooms, promising not to cancel rooms as it did in Germany four years before, and for adding an unjustified 30 % commission to accommodation rates, giving South Africa an unfortunate image of “rip-off pricing” in the European and English media, thereby keeping soccer fans away from the country. As if this was not bad enough, the unfortunate accommodation establishments that signed with MATCH received the majority of their rooms back, just a few weeks before the start of the World Cup.
Golden City Award goes to Cape Town, which to date has had the highest number of goals scored (22) of all stadiums, and has achieved the highest occupancy of stadium seats, said Cape Town Stadium Venue Manager Terral Cullen at a Volunteer Farewell Lunch earlier this week. The Stadium was moved a few meters and a new one built, for the benefit of the view from it onto Table Mountain. Ironically it was not the mountain that became the focus of the world media, but it was the Stadium itself that formed the backdrop for report after report about our beautiful city and the matches that were taking place. Even the sport commentators would refer to the beauty of the city during their match commentary. President Zuma claimed it as the best World Cup city, and FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said the Cape Town Stadium had the best pitch and was the most perfect stadium, so much so that the Olympic Committee has requested Cape Town to bid for the 2020 Olympic Games. What an accolade! Sepp Blatter has taken IOC President Rogge around Cape Town, and personally has recommended the city. We know that what President Blatter wants, he gets!
Golden Card Award goes to the World Cup referees who loved the red and yellow ones, waving them at players at great regularity, and influencing outcomes of matches as a result – Klose and Mueller’s red and yellow cards were examples for the German team.
Golden Flop Award goes to all soccer players who collapsed every time another player bumped into them – from a distance many of them looked like primadonnas, hoping for a free kick whenever they flopped onto the grass
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com
Yesterday Cape Town scored 100 % in being the Host City in which the Quarter Final between Germany and Argentina was played, and will be remembered by fans from around the world, both in Cape Town and those watching in their homes, pubs or Fan Parks, for excellent soccer between two giants in this sport. But Cape Town had its best marketing ever, with more-than-perfect winter weather at 22 C, and the world’s VIP’s present and sharing their love for Cape Town and South Africa.
What was a magnificent start to the soccer Saturday was the Fan Walk from the city center to the Stadium. So many Capetonians I spoke to told me that they were so disappointed to not have bought tickets for the matches, but that they wanted to walk the Fan Walk to get the feeling of its fantastic spirit, which they had heard about from others and seen reported in newspapers. Thus they made their way along the Fan Walk with their families, in the afternoon, enjoying the happiness and goodwill amongst walkers from around the world. EyewitnessNews reported that 200 000 persons walked the Fan Walk yesterday, a record number. It was an incredible sight – Argentinian fans wore blue, or blue and white wigs, and proudly had their flag around them as a cape. The German fans were a little more conservative, but wore their team’s Adidas T-shirt, some had German flag colours painted on their cheeks, and some had even adopted the hardhats with Deutschland on them. The pavement outside shu and Doppio Zero in Green Point was completely jam-packed about two hours before kick-off. A massive German flag had been put up on Signal Hill.
The atmosphere inside Cape Town Stadium was electric, from the time the ticket holders arrived. The early arrivals had the comedy of seeing South African President Jacob Zuma get into his soccer togs and play in a Special Olympics Unity Cup, in aid of the diasbled, game at 14h00, a funny sight to behold. I did duty as a volunteer behind a German block of about 200, and they had the most unbelievable “gees”, all dressed the same, all being led in singing throughout the match, all receiving a Deutschland scarf which they held up at the start of the match and which caught the TV cameras and was filmed. They were so visible, standing for a large part of the match (but not blocking the view of anyone behind them) that the German undercover police filmed them (from behind) to have their behaviour on record as evidence of potential hooliganism just 10 minutes before the game ended!
The 4-0 result was testimony to an amazing match played by the German team, and Argentina just could not crack a goal, disappointing their many fans, who had by far the most flags hanging over the sides of the stadium. The first goal was scored in a record of 8 minutes after the start, and three goals were scored in the second half, the last coming just before the end of the match. It was a fantastic match, and well worth any money that soccer fans had paid to be there.
But it was the VIP presence at the match, outclassing that of the England – Algeria game in terms of VIP attendance, that was the highlight for Cape Town yesterday. FIFA President Sepp Blatter was present at the stadium for the first time, attending this seventh Cape Town match, as was President Zuma attending his first Cape Town match. Leonardo DiCaprio was there (he had been seen eating at Nobu at the One&Only the night before), as were what was reported to be Orlando Bloom but in fact was Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, sitting next to an unglamorous-looking Charlize Theron (who stayed at the Table Bay Hotel). Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel came to support her team, and could not stop beaming. Her boys gave her a “Luftkuss” to thank her for coming to support them when they did their victors’ walk around the stadium. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was there, having fetched Merkel from the airport, taken her to see Khayelitsha (the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading Centre, and visited children from the Youth Development through Football programme ‘Soccer 4 Hope’) prior to the match, and hosting her for dinner after the match.
Previous German team captain Michael Ballack was there, the first match he has been seen to attend, having been on holiday while he recovers from his injury, which led him to not be selected for this World Cup. He almost seemed unhappy that his team was doing so well without him, but he did have a huge smile when the fourth goal was scored. Soccer star Lothar Matthaus sat with Ballack – he has been tipped as the new German coach if Joachim Loew’s contract is not renewed after the World Cup, but his team’s performance to date make it unlikely that it will not be renewed. Mick Jagger was there, and he, Leonardo DiCaprio and socialite Paris Hilton were seen to be partying at The Fez (above Vaudeville) last night. Homegrown billionaire and second space tourist Mark Shuttleworth was there, having attended the previous Cape Town match as well, very low key and not appearing to have VIP status as far as seating went – he was with his dad at the previous match, dressed as a soccer fan in South African colours.
Twitter crashed a number of times during the match, not being able to handle the volume of Tweets everytime Germany scored. Paris Hilton is an avid Twitterer with more than 2 million followers, and despite her Port Elizabeth publicity, she raved about the city (“Cape Town Rocks!”, “Went to Cape of Good Hope. So beautiful. Saw the cutest penguins and ostriches. Having an amazing dinner in Cape Town now. Love the food here”). These are priceless endorsements.
Last night Cape Town erupted, and restaurants were experiencing trade like they had hoped for throughout the World Cup. Accommodation in Camps Bay was sold out – this date had been booked out for months ahead, sadly the only one for the World Cup period, but Tuesday will also be sold out for the Semi-Final between Netherlands and Uruguay.
Yesterday will be the day long remembered by soccer fans for a good game, but also for the fantastic comments made about Cape Town and its beauty by TV commentators. The endorsement of the city by them reaches millions of viewers, and is extremely powerful in the marketing of the city. Yesterday Cape Town won the Quarter Final for soccer fans in the city, the country and around the world! She was the most perfect of a Mother City!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com
The first day of the last phase of ticket sales for the World Cup has resulted in chaos, with queues at sales points, one soccer fan dying of a heart attack in the queue, and the FNB system being off-line.
More than 500 000 World Cup match tickets are available for sale from today, which means that tickets could become available for matches previously designated as having been sold (in Cape Town, for example, all matches are supposed to have been sold out, but tickets for all matches now appear to be available).
It appears that the ticket availability comes from a number of different sources.
First, many sponsors bought blocks of tickets, as did the World Cup teams’ football associations, which they have not all been able to sell. The Cape Times quotes the Daily Mirror in reporting that 69 % of the more than 550 000 sponsors’ tickets have been returned, as they cannot find takers for them. Sponsors Adidas, Coca Cola, Hyundai, Sony, Emirates, Visa and twelve others had the right to buy blocks of tickets, to give away in promotions, or to staff and clients. Similarly 58 % of the 570 000 tickets allocated to fans of the 32 participating teams have been sold, and the balance has been returned.
MATCH, the FIFA hospitality agency, had been allocated 380 000 tickets to package into VIP hospitality packages, and could only manage to sell 1 000 of these! SAA would have been used to fly the VIP guests around the country, and cancelled 45 000 seats which MATCH had booked when the number of seats booked by MATCH kept changing. MATCH is blaming the poor sales record on the world recession, and on the distance of South Africa from the participating countries.
Second, greedy and opportunistic “speculators” bought tickets, with the aim of reselling them, at a profit one would assume, and have now discovered, even though it was clearly stipulated during the purchase process, that one cannot resell them, as the ID number of the ticket purchasers are printed on the tickets. This means that sellers of tickets cannot even give them away for free!
FIFA launches its last ticket sales drive today, when it opens sales outlets in major host cities, as well as some Shoprite Checkers stores (from 19 April), to encourage sales of the remaining tickets. The Cape Town outlet is in The Spearhead, at Hans Strydom Avenue, in the building in which Col’Cacchio is located, close to Investec. The FIFA retail sales outlets will be open from 9h00 – 18h00 for ticket purchases by South Africans, and from 18h00 – 22h00 for ticket purchases by international soccer fans. These centers will also accept tickets for resale, and will be the ticket collection center for tickets booked on the internet.
Tickets will also be for sale at branches of FNB.
FIFA’s Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in Soweto last week that the South African stadiums should be full. “We will work hard to get South Africans and international people to come to the stadiums” he said, reports Bizcommunity.com.
Of the 2,2 million tickets sold to date, South Africans have bought just under 1 million (42%) tickets, followed by the United States (about 120 000), the United Kingdom (68000), Germany (32 000), Australia (30 000) and Canada (16 000).
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com
The world’s eyes will be on Cape Town tomorrow, when the FIFA Final Draw takes place at 19h30 in the Cape Town International Convention Centre. More than 700 million TV viewers in more than 200 countries are expected to watch the Final Draw, which is hugely important as it determines which of the 32 teams play against each other, and where these matches will take place.
A huge upsurge in ticket sales is expected after tomorrow’s Final Draw, when soccer fans choose which matches they book tickets for and which teams they want to see play. A new wave of ticket sales starts on Saturday, with low-priced tickets at R 140 still available to South Africans.
More than 5 000 media, FIFA officials, team coaches and VIP’s will attend the Final Draw at the Convention Centre. Charlize Theron, Oscar actress and originally from South Africa, is one of the presenters, while David Beckham, Pele, Archbishop Tutu, Past President FW de Klerk, Franz Beckenbauer and President Zuma will also be present.
The Executive Producer for the Final Draw, South African George Mazarakis, says that it would be the best FIFA Final Draw ever. He said that “the event would showcase not only South Africa’s ability to deliver a successful World Cup, but that it would also celebrate Africa’s humanity, reports the Cape Argus. “The final draw is more than just a TV show, it’s a celebration of football and Africa” he said.
A stage of 40 meters wide, and 8 meters tall, which took 5 000 hours to build, will be filmed by 18 cameras. The set was almost predominantly made in Cape Town. More than 3 000 locals are involved in the production. Entertainers performing at the Final Draw are the Soweto Gospel Choir, Angelique Kidjo and Johnny Clegg.
The weather forecast looks favourable for tomorrow, with lovely blue skies, ensuring good scenery shots for Cape Town. This is Cape Town’s biggest international marketing event ever, only to be capped by the semi-final for the 2010 World Cup in July.
At the mountain end of Long Street a stage will be set up, on which local bands will perform, and large TV screens will broadcast the Final Draw. More than 15 000 Fan Fest revellers are expected to enjoy the celebration, at which Freshlyground, Jimmy Dludlu, Coda and other musicians will play.
Access into and out of the city tomorrow is expected to be a nightmare, with numerous road closures near the Convention Centre, and around Long Street. On Sunday evening 100 000 Capetonians came to see the switching on of the Christmas Lights, and this caused traffic anarchy in the city center. No traffic police were visible on that evening, and pedestrians took over the street lanes, which clogged up all vehicle movement.
The FIFA VIP’s have been entertained this week, with a lunch yesterday on Signal Hill, with a spectacular view onto the new Cape Town Stadium, and a 5-jet formation flyover put on for them. A dinner party was hosted by Premier Helen Zille in her official residence, and the FIFA executive committee is meeting on Robben Island today. Journalists will be treated to a media gathering at Maiden’s Cove between Camps Bay and Clifton, and one hopes that the weather gods will switch off the southeaster on that day!
Disappointingly, very little FIFA World Cup branding is visible in the city – a huge banner is visible on the Westin Grand Hotel, at which FIFA President Sepp Blatter is staying with his entourage. Eight Adidas footballs have been set up near the Caltex garage at the entrance to the Waterfront, and tiny VISA flags are visible in the Waterfront. The lamp pole banners on Buitengracht Street are boring, and one can barely see the FIFA 2010 World Cup logo on them.
Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions estimates that 480 000 foreign soccer fans will attend the 2010 World Cup, and will generate R 8,5 billion for South Africa, generating a benefit of R 11,5 billion for the country’s economy. The consultancy expects 50 % of the tickets to be sold to locals, and the balance to international soccer fans. About 18 000 journalists are expecetd next year and 26 million soccer fans will view the World Cup on TV. The largest number of international tickets have been sold to the USA (360 565), the UK (481 184), Germany (25 060) and Australia (17 848), reports the Cape Argus.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio www.whalecottage.com
Open areas in the Waterfront will become hospitality and match-viewing areas, while the Victoria Wharf shopping centre will be decorated with ‘larger-than-life’ soccer balls, interactive games and other World Cup memorabilia, according the the V & A ‘s newly appointed 2010 Commercial Director, John Elliot. Elliot comes to Cape Town from Australia, having been involved in the Sydney Olympics, the World Cup in Germany, and a number of Commonwealth Game and rugby world cup events.
Elliot is planning to make the Waterfront a “football environment with a lot of football content”. “It must be a safe and fun experience for all visitors. We expect a large contingent of fans, tourists and locals, and strive to make their visit to the V & A unforgettable”. He is working with FIFA sponsors Coca Cola, Sony and Adidas on an activity plan for the soccer tournament. Top soccer stars have been booked for promotional appearances.
The Waterfront expects 100 000 visitors per day, and even more at the time of the semi-final. It has also planned activities to coincide with the FIFA Final Draw, taking place in Cape Town on 4 December.
One hopes that the Waterfront’s airconditioning woes will be something of the past by the time the 2010 World Cup starts. The heat is unbearable in the connecting passages, near Melissa’s in particular, and the fashion mall and the Woolworths side of Victoria Wharf are also without airconditioning, Balducci currently being the exception.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com